Hornbill Systems Supportworks Review

Locally installed versions of it provide an impressive range of customizations, but the customer portal is dated and and functionally limited.

Valuable Features

It is quite user friendly to use and has a lot of very useful features that makes the analyst/technician's life easier. From an Administrator's perspective, it has a lot of legacy code and table structures in its database that makes managing it, or pushing it to the limits of its capabilities, sometimes challenging. That said, if you have a locally installed version, the range of customization is impressive.

The Graphical Business Process engine provides a huge amount of flexibility and automation, and is one of its best features.

Improvements to My Organization

It has allowed us to bring call logging, change management and CMDB management into one tool, as well as providing a useful customer portal at the front end, so customers can log their own requests.

Room for Improvement

The customer portal is a tad dated and limited in some of its functionality. Also, the Knowledge Base could do with some improvements.

Use of Solution

I've used it as a customer at three different organizations, the latest one I've been at over a year, and my job is purely to support this application and the people using it. Additionally, I was a software trainer at Hornbill for two years.

Deployment Issues

Out of the box, Supportworks isn't difficult to deploy or upgrade. However, once you start making customizations to the underlying data structure, future upgrades become more difficult.

Stability Issues

At first we had a glitch where it would occasionally boot people out of their session, but that was because of a bug at our end, and not intrinsic to the software. Other than that, it is a very stable system and seldom, if ever, crashes.

Scalability Issues

We have 250+ users at the moment, and that might double soon. It's not an issue for Supportworks, and it doesn't require a lot of server space either. A good virtual server is all it needs and it will tick along quite happily.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

I'd rate it as a 5/10 or 6/10. Four years ago, I would have given it an 11 or 12 (out of 10!). Individually, the people at Hornbill are fantastic and very helpful. But, I think the corporate approach to training and support has changed, meaning even small requests have to go through official channels which can be time consuming and costly.

Technical Support:

Good, but can be variable. There are some fantastic people at Hornbill who know the product inside and out, but it is a very large and complex product to learn, and newer support staff don't always know the answers right away (which is normal for any organization).

Previous Solutions

I've worked at a number of organizations and used a range of service management tools. I accepted a contract with Hornbill to teach their product, because I felt it was the best one I've ever used. I still think it is one of the best two or three products on the market.

Initial Setup

It can be a little bit complex, definitely something you want to get Hornbill to give a hand with, but mostly because there are a number of options, connectivity to external email, etc. I wouldn't say it is difficult, but there is a lot to it. Thankfully, installation is part of the purchase cost (if I remember correctly).

Implementation Team

The Hornbill consultants who help install the software are top notch, highly recommended.


No idea on the financials, but it has improved our customer satisfaction with IT significantly.

Other Advice

Do as much of the work and customizations yourself as you can. Learn as much as you can about the product.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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